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US Calls For End to Haiti Violence - 2004-02-28

The U.S. government is calling on Haiti's president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, to stop the violence now gripping Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince. U.S. officials are also calling on Haiti's rebels to stop their advance on the capital.

A statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince calls on President Aristide to issue instructions to his supporters to stop what the Embassy calls blind violence against the civilian population, as well as public and economic targets in the capital.

Armed gangs of Aristide supporters terrorized the capital on Friday, blocking roads and robbing motorists. Several people were killed in the violence.

The U.S. Embassy says pro-Aristide supporters were involved in numerous examples of burning and pillaging against the civilian population, even targeting a hospital.

The statement says Mr. Aristide must understand that his honor and legacy are now at stake.

The violence took place as rebels under the command of former regional police chief Guy Philippe advanced to within a few kilometers of the capital.

The embassy statement also calls on the rebels to halt their advance in order to spare Port-au-Prince from further violence.